Teacher scaring parents needlessly

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Minnie Mouse, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Why do some teachers take it upon themselves to toss words like dislexia out to parents of 4 year olds?

    I had a visit from another teacher in my school yesterday. She was coming to see me on behalf of her sister who has a 4 year old son at another school. According to my co-worker, the teacher in this pre-k 4 class has recommended that her sister take her son to the local public school and ask that he be tested for dislexia because he writes his name backwards. Also, she is recommending he take "handwriting classes" :confused:. My co-worker is a special ed teacher but she works with upper elementary children so she brought handwriting samples from her nephew for me to see and to get my opinion. His handwriting looked very good for a 4 year old in the first 6 weeks of the school year. Yes, there were reversals but the letters were very well formed. If anything, I would say he is doing very well for his age.

    My co-worker said she told her sister not to go to the school because they would not test him at his young age. I asked her if the teacher meant that the child needs occupational therapy (though I couldn't see it from the samples). The sister insists the teacher used the term handwriting class. I know nothing about the teacher at this school. All I do know is that it's a Catholic parochial school. I thought the Catholic schools required certified teachers but maybe not in pre-k. At the very least, I would expect the teacher to know she shouldn't toss around labels like that. For her to be expecting perfect handwriting in pre-k seems to indicate some pretty inappropriate expectations. I feel sorry for the mom and little boy.
     
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  3. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    Oct 3, 2008

    Parochial schools do not require teaching degrees in every state. It sounds to me like this woman feels the need to assert some authority and expertise somewhere...anywhere. In my opinion, it is never a teacher's place to be diagnosing ANYTHING...that's why we have counselors, nurses, OTs, PTs, speech therapists, etc... It is never a teacher's job to diagnose - it is our job to pick up on symptoms and behaviors that could be the signals to a greater problem and then to use that information to render necessary services from other specialists who ARE required to make those diagnoses and deal with them. Of course, I know you know this, so I'm preaching to the choir, but it's "teachers" like this who give real teachers a bad name.
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I can't believe that any adult wouldn't know that a 4 year old reverses letters occasionally (or even often). If he is even writing them backwards, that is great! backwards means that he kind of knows them and needs more practice and needs to be a four year old. I can't imagine the look on a dyslexia teacher's face when you tell her that she has to test/treat a four year old. I can see saying, hey watch this in the future, if it doesn't disappear by 6 you may want to look into further testing (probably more like 8). I would encourage the mom to take the child for a regular check up just to make her feel better so she isn't worrying about the child.
     
  5. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Oct 4, 2008

    Oh boy. Anyone who has any experience working with 4 yr olds would be shocked to hear what this teacher told this family. Fortunately they have other resources to consult.

    As someone who does remediation with dyslexic children, and someone who works with 4 yr old children, would honestly have to turn the parents down and offer to speak to the teacher so the teacher could get a good idea of what developmentally appropriate expectations are for this age group.

    Sometimes a little bit of information can be a very very dangerous thing.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I don't think it has anything to do with certification or lack thereof-- I think it's someone who got carried away with herself.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 4, 2008

    And someone who could get a district in a world of trouble: there are places in which the teacher uttering words that sound like a diagnosis commits the district to paying for the treatment and sometimes even for the medical workup.
     
  8. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sometimes when someone works with another age group, they forget what is developmentally appropriate for other age groups. That's why knowing the developmental stages, not just what we teach, is so critical.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 4, 2008

    When my nephew was a few months old, he developed a mysterious rash. My sister took him to the doctor, who did a battery of tests.

    He eventually pulled Eileen into his office,and told her that Ray had an incredibly rare disease. He would eventually develop webbed hands and feet.

    Eileen called mom, crying of course. Mom, in tears, suggested one thing Eileen hadn't tried yet: getting rid of all the chocolate making paraphenalia around the house. (It was Easter time and Eileen was big into making chocolate that year.)

    Needless to say, it was an allergy, not the rare webbed finger disease. Common sense was right, the professional diagnosis was wrong. At age 28, Ray's fingers and toes are all as they should be.
     
  10. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    I wish someone would talk to the teacher. If I were closer to the situation and not just an outside resource, I would do it. I told my co-worker I hoped her sister keeps a really close eye on the situation because it sounds like it could end up being a very stressful one for the child. Since I don't know the teacher, I can't be sure of the atmosphere of the classroom but I would be worried it isn't a good one. I also suggested that she may want to consider looking for another program.
     
  11. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    Wow:eek:! That is an incredible story! Your poor sister! Just goes to show you how some people can go overboard and common sense goes out the window. Thank goodness your mom was there to calm her and be the voice of reason.
     
  12. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    Of course, you are right. I was referring to the idea that a certified teacher would have some education on what is appropriate for 4 year old children and would have been taught not to make such statements to a parent. I hope someone educates her before she creates a huge mess.
     
  13. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    Since it's a private Catholic school, I'm not sure that would apply. The teacher actually told the parent to go to the public elementary school down the street from her school for testing. I seriously doubt they would even consider her request to test a 4 year old for dislexia. I do think the child's mother should go back to the school and have a talk with the teacher about this, maybe even bringing the headmaster of the school into the conversation. The teacher needs to learn from this mistake before she does some real damage to a child and the reputation of the school.
     
  14. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    :):thumb: I completely agree with you there.
     
  15. forkids

    forkids Cohort

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    Oct 4, 2008

    The mother of the four-year-old needs to take this to the principal or whoever is in charge of that school. Her child and all the others are being taught by someone who doesn't have a clue about child development or appropriate instruction in Pre-K. If the people in charge agree with this teacher, then I would pull my child out of that school immediately. "Teachers" like this do more harm than good to children. By having inappropriate expectations that they cannot meet, they make young children feel bad about themselves and often give them a negative attitude about school, reading, and writing before they really begin. It is sad that these chidren are being subjected to this.
     
  16. harbodin

    harbodin Companion

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    Oct 4, 2008

    Are they in southern VA, because I think they are in my local Catholic school! They have extremely unrealistic expectations at our Catholic school, and justify it as rigorous standards!

    We won't even say "test" until we've met, come up with an action plan, did some strategies, and then found there was real need. And that is when there is an obvious problem, never a ridiculous thing like backwards handwriting! That can go on off and on till about second grade! That teacher should really be spoken to, because it is crazy to worry parents over something that will probably never be problem!!!
     
  17. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    I agree with you but I'm only indirectly involved by way of my co-worker. Like ForKids says, my hope is that the mother should go to the headmaster to discuss it further. I am not sure it's my place to do this. It's sort of hard for me to not call the school because I am concerned about the children in the class. I just don't think my words would have much of an impact. I guess I just wanted to vent about it. Glad to know I have a place where I'm understood and supported.:D
     
  18. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Oct 5, 2008

    Is there a different classroom she can put her in?
     
  19. tracykaliski

    tracykaliski Connoisseur

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    Oct 5, 2008

    Okay, I got this info off of this website: http://www.nhida.org/signs.htm


    Common Signs of Dyslexia: Preschool Children
    May talk later than most children.
    May have difficulty pronouncing words, i.e., "busgetti" for "spaghetti", "mawn lower" for "lawn mower".
    May be slow to add new vocabulary words.
    May be unable to recall the right word.
    May have difficulty with rhyming.
    May have trouble learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, colors, shapes, how to spell and write his or her name.
    May be unable to follow multi-step directions or routines.
    Fine motor skills may develop more slowly than in other children.
    May have difficulty telling and/or retelling a story in the correct sequence.
    Often has difficulty separating sounds in words and blending sounds to make words.


    You'll notice none of them have anything to do with writing letters backwards. :cool:

    Have her look up dyslexia symptoms and preschool and she'll get a ton of information and she can take it back to the teacher for more information.

    Hope this gets resolved quickly for the child's sake.
     
  20. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    Thank you! I'm going to e-mail this to my co-worker so she can share it with her sister.
     
  21. Minnie Mouse

    Minnie Mouse Rookie

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    I don't know but I did mention that possibility. I really hope the mom decides to go back and talk to the teacher about all this. Maybe it will help the teacher to learn and improve her practice so all the children in the class will benefit.
     
  22. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Oct 5, 2008

    My doctor uses this phrase, "If you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." That means, if you see or hear something unsually about a case (or in our case, about a child), go for the common diagnosis first.

    About the reversals, it is pretty clear to me that the teacher who suggested dyslexia does not have a great deal of experience working with 4 year olds. And, perhaps, doesn't have a lot of coursework under her belt that would describe appropriate development of young children, as well (which kind of goes back to the certification question). My own daughter was in a church-run preschool last year with an awful teacher. They boasted that all teachers had 4 year degrees. I talked to her teacher, in depth, and found out that, yes, she did indeed, have a 4-year degree - in biology. And apparantly, that didn't teach her that it was inappropriate to have 3 year olds do addition flashcards....
    Kim
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 5, 2008

    It's unprofessional to make a 'diagnosis' of a child's difficulties when one does not have a specialty/hold a degree in assessing and identifying such 'disabilities'...If I were the mom in question I would talk to the principal of the school and express my concerns that a PreK teacher was diagnosing my child and would the school like to pay for the 'special testing' she was suggesting...(I've been told a school can be held financially responsible for such things which are said off the cuff...)...Once my older son's middle school math teacher called me and said my son had ADD because he rocked back in his chair (on two legs)...I suggested that she let him fall and that would teach him a lesson about rocking in his chair. I also admonished her that in the state we lived at the time she could be sued for malpractice since she was not a doctor or diagnostician who was certified to make such diagnoses...that pretty much shut her up...PS my son got an A in class (he got As in most math classes he ever took), does not have ADD, just graduated college with a double major in finance and accounting and that B!+c# teacher was the ONLY one who ever suggested in his entire schooling career that he may have some learning difficulties.
     

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